DESIGNER: Reiner Knizia
NUMBER OF PLAYERS: 2 to 8
AGES: 8 and up
TIMES PLAYED: 8, with a copy I purchased
Over the years I have found I have less patience for many luck-based games than I used to. I don’t mind a luck-based element in a strategy game here and there, and I am a sucker for dice, but anything that reminds me of Yahtzee or Uno is nothing I want to own or play regularly. However, I am lucky enough to have family and friends who are often willing to play games, so having some easy to explain, easy to play games on hand is important, especially games that can handle a lot of players. In addition, the bartender at our favorite pub is always happy to play a game or three on a quiet night, so games that scale down to a smaller number with no cards or other components that can be damaged by beer are also a plus. All of these factors led me to purchase Schollen Rollen – Roll for Soles.
The game comes in a box that is used during the game; also included are forty yellow soles (each with value 1), twenty-four red soles (each with value 5), and 4 six-sided dice with five possible faces. The number of fish used varies depending on the number of players – the higher the number of players, the higher the number of fish.
On your turn, you roll all of the dice. The dice faces include one sole, two soles, a fish hook, water and a double up symbol. If you rolled at least one sole, your turn continues. Take as many yellow soles as you rolled and put them in the “net” (the bottom of the box). If you rolled a double up, take double the number of soles you rolled. If you rolled two double ups, take four times the number you rolled (and so on). If you rolled a fish hook, you can choose to take the soles from the middle or from any one player’s personal supply. Water dice do not affect your roll, but they cannot be reused this turn.
Once you have determined your haul, you have to decide whether you are satisfied with the number of fish you have collected or whether you want to try to get more. If you are satisfied, take the soles you have collected out of the net and add them to your supply; play will continue with the next player. If you want to push your luck set aside all blue dice (water and double ups) and roll the remaining dice. If you don’t roll any soles your turn is over and you lose all the soles you have already put into the net; put them back into the generally supply and your turn is over. If you do roll at least one sole, collect that many fish and put them in the net, taking into account any previously set-aside doublers. Lather, rinse repeat until you decide you want to stop (or the dice decide for you).
Play continues until a player takes the last fish; each player then counts up their fish and the player with the most fish wins. If there is a tie players rejoice in their shared victory.
My Thoughts on the Game
The components of the game are nice; the wooden fish are cute and the dice are nice. The box seems sturdy, which is good, since it gets passed around during game play. The game only comes with German rules, but English rules are available on the Amigo website and they are well-written and clear.
From a purely gaming perspective, there’s not much happening here. Sure, you have to decide whether you want to press your luck and roll again, but that’s about it. It’s not painful, but there’s not much to enjoy here for me. There’s not much excitement and no interesting decisions. Our friend the bartender thought it was okay, but prefers the other games we usually bring. The children I played it with, however, loved it; they were very into pressing their luck and wanted to play multiple times.
This game is not likely to see a lot of regular play in our house, unless we have non-gamers or family over, in which case it is likely to make an appearance based on its ease of explanation and play, the short length of the game and the fact that it takes up to 8 players. Also, the box says 8 and up, but could easily be played by younger school-age children. If you’re of age and live in New England, I’d recommend playing this while drinking a Cape Ann Brewing Fisherman’s Brew to keep the theme going.
THOUGHTS OF OTHER OPINIONATED GAMERS
Craig M (3 Plays): Not much new ground to cover beyond what Tery said above. The game is a cute press your luck filler. I think the target audience really is younger kids and families. There is a satisfying feeling stealing fish from your opponents, but the decisions are obvious and easy.
Joe Huber (1 play): “Not much happening here” is, unfortunately, a fine summation of the game. It’s short enough that we did finish the game. But there really wasn’t enough there to make it a good family game – there are many other games aimed at younger kids which are more enjoyable for adults.
Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers
I love it!
I like it.
Neutral. Tery, Craig
Not for me… Joe H.